Saturday, October 31, 2009

The weather here has regressed to September temperatures—it’s 67 degrees as I write this at 6pm on a day when there was so little sun that our electricity production was a paltry 1.19 kilowatts. There are a considerable number of insects still out and about, although the mosquitoes seem to be gone, which brings joy to my heart. Working outside this last week and weekend has been a pleasure.

I’ve had two good-sized construction projects going on. One that was finished and installed yesterday was a cold frame for one of the vegetable garden terraces up on the hillside. We want to get our seeds started as early in the spring as possible, but Fritz also wanted it for this fall. He’d done a late planting of lettuce and swiss chard and was sure that with a cold frame to protect them, we could harvest fresh greens through December.

So here it is, but it isn’t protecting anything from the cold as there is no cold. The frame’s glass cover is chocked open to ventilate the young chards and lettuces from being roasted by too much heat!

The other project, a small shelter/cover for the propane tank’s filling valve (that got completely snow and ice choked last winter) should be finished some time Monday afternoon.


I need to put an addendum onto my story about the Levi’s ad with Levi’s claiming to have Walt Whitman’s actual voice accompanying images of young men and women wearing Jeans, frolicking outdoors in jeans and not much else, etc. It turns out there is a second ad in the series that has not had anyway near as much play here as the Pioneers! O, Pioneers ad. The second ad which I have yet to see but which Fritz did catch one day, is called America and does use the disputed but quite possibly authentic Edison cylinder that claims to have Whitman’s voice, about which I wrote in my last post. So, while Levi’s flat-out claim to have Whitman’s voice may be a bit tenuous, they actually do have a possible Whitman recording on at least one of their ads. Levi’s sound restoration by the way, while unable to eliminate all the antique cylinder surface noise, was able to bring the voice forward more clearly and understandably than any of the internet transcriptions.


Last weekend we had the considerable pleasure of entertaining Good friends from the Intermezzo, New England Chamber Opera for whom I am the resident designer. They came on Sunday which was one of those glorious New England autumn days pf crystalline air and brilliant sunlight igniting the color of the maples, birches sumacs and other trees and bushes.

The front entry was dressed for the holiday season. We began with by showing everybody around the house. I broke out the champagne to start dinner and to celebrate the company’s very strong past achievements, while looking ahead to new commissions and productions.

The menu was my current specialty, chicken tagine (here seen in preparation), with one of Fritz’s baby spinach, mandarin orange and sharp blue cheese salads. We finished with two of his signature maple syrup/hazelnut pies.

Working with Intermezzo has been the great pleasure of my later career, most particularly for the superb colleagues I get to work with and the shared vision of how to produce art through close collaboration.


A couple of things to celebrate:

May 22 is now officially Harvey Milk Day in California.

The HIV travel ban has been lifted by President Obama.

Next week’s elections will tell us if we have anything more to celebrate or if we have more and more work to do.

I swear, you guys have the best food. As for the temperatures, ours was in the 60s yesterday too -- I was in a t-shirt showing off my giant biceps the entire day.
Arnie--the heart races a little at the thought!
Will I really love the decor on your doors. They are simple and natural, but very striking. It looks like you could easily add to them for different occasions and holidays throughout fall/winter seasons, if you chose to. Did you put them together yourselves?.

P.S. I have cold frame envy!
Fabulous post all the way around! Good must ooze creativity! I've wanted to build a cold frame for the longest time, and now I'm adding chicken tagine to my list of our must try dishes! Bravo!
once again I am mad jealous over your gardening endeavors.

I am thrilled and pleased as punch to be meeting you two - in 3 months !
That meal sounds wonderful!
Kyle--Yes, we did make them from all natural stuff--Fritz did the wreath from grape vines on my old house's property in Boston; I added bittersweet from the property here and dried maize from our local farmer's market. The hanging ropes I made from cones dropped by a huge field pine that grows next to our drive.

Geoff--I'm lucky in that my profession--theatrical design--gave me a lot of skills in construction, painting, upholstery, sewing, etc. I've used them all and then some in the finishing details for this house.

Just google tagine recipes for lots of them. The Zamouri Spice site sells various spice mixes including one called La Kama that's especially for chicken tagine.

Michael--we're excited about the trip, too, and very happy we'll be meeting you and Someone finally.

Thom--some day we hope we can have you here for a visit and lots of good food, talk and fun.
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